Can Jo Boaler grow your brain?

Interesting factcheck!

Filling the pail

In September last year, UK broadcaster, Radio 4, transmitted an interview with Jo Boaler, a professor of maths education. I remarked on this at the time on my old blog. There were a number of claims that I disagreed with but one claim stood out as simply very strange.

Boaler stated that, “One of the recent studies showed us that when you make a mistake, your brain grows.” She then equated the firing of synapses with the brain ‘growing’ and went on to explain that, in the study, there were two bursts of synapse firing, with the first occurring before the participants knew that they had made a mistake.

Sarah Montague, the interviewer, was surprised by this. “How on earth can that be?” she asked. “If you don’t know you’ve made a mistake, why should a synapse fire…?”

It’s a good question and, at the time, I wrote that I would love to…

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